Kick Seasonal Allergies Naturally
Spring’s here, the trees and flowers are bursting into bloom, and you’re spending more time outside enjoying the sun. But hours later you start to sneeze and cough, your eyes water, and soon you have other cold-like symptoms. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), you’re one of nearly 40 million Americans who have indoor/outdoor allergies that show up as the seasons change.
The not-so-great news for allergy sufferers: trees and grasses - the biggest culprits of seasonal allergies - are blossoming earlier and sticking around longer because of climate change. This means allergy season is getting longer, too!
If you’re a seasonal sufferer who’s looking for ways to treat allergies other than medication, here are some tips for natural relief:
- First, get tested for regional allergies. The seasonal allergies you have depend upon where you live and what kind of allergens are in the air. If you live in an area with high humidity, your allergic reaction will likely be stronger as pollen thrives in these areas. Getting tested for allergies can help you determine what’s causing your symptoms and how best to treat them.
- Go local for your allergy remedies. You may have heard the old wives’ tale that eating a spoonful of honey a day will cure your allergies. Well, it won’t cure them but it can significantly decrease your susceptibility to local allergens. Eating small, regular doses of honey or bee pollen supplements that are produced in your region can help your body build up a tolerance to pollen allergens, reducing the havoc they wreak on your sinuses. You can find locally produced honey and bee pollen at farmers’ markets in your area, as well as in many organic chain markets.
- Some allergy specialists suggest that your diet plays a role in controlling symptoms. If you suffer from weed pollen allergies, what you don’t eat can make a difference. New York University allergist Dr. Clifford Bassett recommends avoiding melon, banana, cucumber, sunflower seeds, chamomile, and any herbal supplements containing Echinacea, as these can make symptoms much worse. Click here to check out more tips about foods and herbs like garlic and 'butterbur' that may help relieve or ward off symptoms.
- Some experts swear by nasal rinses to wash out the allergens that get in your nose. Irrigation with neti pots, hydrating irrigating units, and squeeze bottles are becoming more mainstream – some experts think the treatment is even more effective than medication! Nasal irrigation – rinsing the nose and nasal passages, typically with a salt water solution – is a cheap and easy way to alleviate allergy symptoms. You can even do the rinse yourself at home. Check out this how-to video from the University of Michigan Health System.
- Clean your home regularly to reduce indoor allergies. Twenty percent of Americans have not just one, but two kinds of allergies, so staying indoors isn’t always the best option when you’re trying to escape those irritants. Check out our green tips for cleaning your home in an eco-friendly way and make sure to get rid of all of those dust mites that make you sneeze.
Sadly, all the tissues you do end up using during allergy season can’t be recycled - used tissues just aren’t recyclable, despite being paper product. So consider buying tissues and toilet paper made from recycled paper or use a cloth handkerchief.
Got your own natural, effective allergy reliever? Tell us about it!